Ann Alaia Woods, a Letters Active AND Art Active member of our chapter, will present at our Tuesday, May 2, 2022 meeting.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 2, 2022, 1:00-3:00 pm
- Whetstone Library (branch – Columbus Metropolitan Library)
- 3909 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214
- Meeting Room – to the right of the entrance doors
- Free parking in adjacent lot
I create because I must. I am never as at peace as when I am lettering, designing, devising. The feel of creating inspired me to leave academe and devote myself to Art. On the way, I found another part of myself – a long-suppressed engineer – driving me to explore where science, art, and philosophy converge in marbling, making paper, building books and 3D structures, devising artists’ tools – and in teaching and writing about all of them.
Ann is a commission artist whose work encompasses designing hand-lettered prose, poetry, monograms, logos, books and 3-D awards, and even lettering for interior and outdoor settings, as well as classic and contemporary marbling on paper, wood, and fabric.
She also writes and teaches about the history and practice of calligraphy and marbling, occasionally bursting out into personal poetry and social commentary.
After earning her A.B. in History from Barnard College, she spent a year abroad on Tufts University’s L’Anno Classico in Italia. Her Masters and Ph.D. (1972-74), also in History, are from the University of Southern California.
Ann began her first career teaching Classics and History at OSU in the late 70s. Her second—in the Arts—began in 1981, with intensive studies in hand lettering, book arts, and marbling through the international calligraphy guild workshop system—the only means that serious hand-lettering/book artists had then and still have to be classically trained by the best practicing professionals.
Simultaneously, she began teaching–as a GCAC Artist-in-Schools, through various programs (OSU’s CAP, Ripley Arts Center in West Virginia, at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, Upper Arlington’s Lifelong Learning & Leisure), through demonstrations for the public and, finally, as instructor of hand lettering at CCAD, before opening her own studio for classes and workshops in 1997.
Among her greatest honors as an artist, Ann counts being chosen as the first American calligrapher invited to the International Calligraphy Conference in China (1993); being the first 3-time winner of the World Handwriting Contest (2005-2007); serving as Calligrapher to the Logan Elm Press at the Ohio State University (1990 to 2012) and as Designer for the Distinguished Alumni and Community Service Awards for the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts from 1999 to 2010. Her life as an exhibiting artist has also brought occasional honors: work juried into the Calligraphers Engagement Calendar from 1991 through 2004 (when it ceased publication), winning both 1st Prize and Best of Show in GHALA’s exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory, being selected to participate in Hand Papermaking Magazine’s Portfolio Project (2007)—a project that led in 2019 to designing and earning a patent for her Asian-style hand-papermaking frame—and even taking first place in the Columbus Asian Festival’s haiku contest! Her work is represented in the permanent holdings of the King of Spain, the Newberry Library, MOMA, and many private collections.
In 1987, as president of the Calligraphy Guild of Columbus, Ann created and directed the quincentenary legacy project, The Public Book: Letters to Our Great, Great, Grandchildren, a conceptual book of large fabric pages made by Central Ohio residents—now housed at
the Columbus Historical Society.
More recently, in 2017-18, she received two grants to further her research and teaching of classical marbling, laying the groundwork for publishing two books on Western marbling techniques in 2020, as the pandemic hit. Her chapbook on Japanese traditional marbling was published last year. Her life coming full circle now, an article on the Trajan Inscription in Rome is now in the works.